Oro Grande Publishing Club looks for the news

Students in the Oro Grande Elementary School Publishing Club keep a close eye on what is happening at the school and then they write about it.

The Oro Grande Elementary School Publishing Club brings together students with an interest in journalism. It is overseen by the school’s speech therapist Chrystal Lewis. Carol Perkins, who works with Mrs. Lewis as a speech paraprofessional during the school day, also helps her after school with the publishing club. They and the student members of the club put out a monthly school newsletter that is distributed to students and parents called Grande Gazette. The newsletter is full of articles about school events, books, and movies. The January issue contained stories about fire safety, a field trip to Shark Reef in Las Vegas, and a review of the movie Fred Claus.

The club is open to 4th and 5th graders who are recommended by their teacher. The club has a regular monthly lunchtime meeting, plus occasional after school meetings as needed. During meetings they talk about ideas for future stories, put together the newsletter, and learn tricks of the trade like how to write a good story.

Students and sponsors of Oro GRande Publishing Club.
Oro Grande Publishing Club. Club is sponsored by speech therapist Chrystal Lewis (back row, second from left) and Carol Perkins (back row on the right).

During our visit, students were throwing out ideas for the April issue. There may be stories on the Havasu Heat baseball team, AIMS testing, a field trip Oro Grande’s first graders are taking to the zoo, and an Oro Grande teacher who is retiring at the end of the current school year. Some of the club members were wearing special name tags which identify them as publishing club members so they can move about the school to do their interviews.

When asked, one club member said the things learned in the publishing club definitely help in language arts classes which means better grades. Another club member will be moving on to Thunderbolt Middle School next year, and she wonders if there is a similar club at that school. (Right now there is not.) Club members are all looking forward to an upcoming visit to Lake Havasu High School's journalism class where they will see how high school students put together that school's newsletter, Knight Life.

How did a speech therapist like Mrs. Lewis end up working with the publishing club? She says she was asked several years ago to help another staff member who ran the club. When that staff member had to give up the responsibility, she took over. She and the students all seem to enjoy what they are doing.

The Oro Grande Publishing Club is eligible for tax credit dollars. Tax credit money has helped buy a laptop computer and digital camera for the club and a flash drive for each club member so they can easily bring their files from home to school. Members develop many skills including interviewing, writing, photography, computer use, and teamwork.

The issue of Grande Gazette now being prepared for publication contains this story by student Sierra.

Time for Reading

Oro Grande’s Family Literacy Night was held on March 4, 2008. There were 120 people attending Family Literacy Night. Family Literacy Night was a night to do cooperative activities that help promote reading skills. In the beginning of Family Literacy Night they ate pizza for dinner and had a book exchange. After eating dinner, there was a hilarious puppet show performed by Mrs. Brown (The Librarian of the local library.) Later during Family Literacy Night they were doing stations such as Smart Board which is when kids had to do a jeopardy game about Oro Grande, and there was another station and the kids had to build little candy houses. Everyone had a great time at Oro Grande’s Family Literacy Night.